Wednesday, September 24, 2014

So it's all Bismarck's fault!

White Europeans reproduced as much as today's sub-Saharans before the industrial age. Then came modernization and the introduction of old-age insurance. Look at them now and you may see Africans of the future. What will happen to mankind then, demographic-wise?

Should I drop my hat to
score some chicks?
A European Central Bank paper has identified the culprit behind Europe’s grim population trends, although he happens to have died over a century ago: Otto von Bismarck.

In the paper published late last week, authors Beatrice Scheubel from the ECB and Robert Fenge from the University of Rostock examine the effects that Bismarck’s creation of the German social security system in the late 19th and early 20th centuries had on fertility.
Their finding: the effect of the introduction of old-age insurance in Germany “amounts to a total reduction of approximately 1.7 marital births per 1000 between 1895 and 1907.”

“Considering that the impact of social security on people’s lives has increased rather than decreased since the early nineteenth century, the impact of social security on current levels of fertility is likely to be even larger,” they wrote.

Having lots of kids is one way to prepare for old age, by raising the odds that they will eventually be able to provide for their parents in retirement. But the existence of social security reduces this need, because the government provides income in old age.

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